Monday, December 5, 2011
Bridgestone Arena has traditionally been one of the toughest venues for opposing teams to visit. So far this season, that hasn't been the case.
Nashville has collected just 11 out of 22 points on home ice this year, going 4-4-3 in 11 games. Conversely, the Predators have collected 17 out of 30 points with a 8-6-1 record on the road, which is supposed to be more difficult.
"I think part of our struggles at home are because we have had such a tough road schedule this year. We're home for one and then we leave and then we're home for one again. It will be nice to try and get in a rhythm the rest of the year," said Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter.
Nashville has certainly done their fair share of traveling during the early part of the year. They have already taken two trips to western Canada, and one trip to the west coast of the United States. However, the Predators have eight home games remaining in the month of December. That's the most out of any month this season. Nashville will have to really play well at home this month, and collect as many points as possible.
"We've been traveling a lot. It's kind of a grind when you're traveling that much. We know if we want to be a playoff team, and a high playoff team, we have to start winning at home. It's a building that's tough to play in and we have to make it that way," said Nashville blueliner Jonathon Blum.
Last season, the Predators had nine home games in the month of March. This season, the Predators have nine road games in the month of March and only have six home games. That means that Nashville will really have to take advantage of this month's remaining eight game home slate, four of which are against divisional opponents.
"Points at home are huge. You don't want to count on these points to hold you up so we've got to make sure we work at home. These are somewhat easier points to get than on the road, so we've got make sure we're getting a fair amount here," said Predators rookie forward Craig Smith.
"It's nice to have a little homestand here to really get the fans into it. We've always been a pretty good team at home, and we need to continue that on to this year. Right now, we're not playing Predator hockey at home," said Nashville defenseman Kevin Klein.
Five out of the next six games for the Predators are within the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena. They have a huge opportunity to climb back into the race for the Central Division. That opportunity begins on Tuesday night against the Phoenix Coyotes.
(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)